Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Rationing of healthcare services exists already. Medicare, Medicaid and private healthcare insurance companies ration medical care in many ways. Rationing is done to decrease the economic burden of healthcare.
Some physicians and most patients are not aware that rationing exists. President Obama’s healthcare reform plan will make rationing very obvious especially to the elderly. Americans will not tolerate rationing. Physicians will not tolerate rationing especially when it interferes with their concept of ethical medical care.
Yet 220 representatives voted to impose rationed medical care on the American public.
H.R. 3962 puts this power in the hands of one unelected official, the Secretary of Health and Human Welfare. The Secretary will determine if a treatment can be performed and how much physicians will be reimbursed.
The medical social contract should be between patients and physicians. Patient should have the freedom to choose. The choice of treatment should not be left up to an unelected official.
Should the government, healthcare insurance company or hospital make our medical choices for us? My answer is no. H.R. 3962 says yes.
“Title 1, Section 101, subsection (h)(2), found on pages 25-26 of the bill. The provision applies in a situation of insufficient funds for high risk individuals and reads:
“If the Secretary estimates for any fiscal year that the aggregate amounts available for payment of expenses of the high-risk pool will be less than the amount of the expenses, the Secretary shall make such adjustments as are necessary to eliminate such deficit, including reducing benefits, increasing premiums, or establishing waiting lists.”
Note “the Secretary shall make such adjustments as are necessary to eliminate such deficit, including reducing benefits, increasing premiums, or establishing waiting lists.”
This is rationing, restricting access to care and not adhering to the principle of affordable premiums.
Hospital systems are now rationing care to maximize profits. Many are providing generic drugs rather than brand drugs. Many are substituting different medical devices for the device physicians have prescribed for their patients.
The only way a hospital can be profitable since the government has instituted price controls is to provide a less expensive product.
This is the complaint in the second part of the note I received from the practicing obstetrician. It is only one hospital and one experience. However, the experience and frustration is universal among physicians.
Part 2 of the letter I received:
A very expensive cost to the hospital is buying a joint, for a joint replacement surgery. Let’s say a knee joint for argument’s sake. It’s true…it is expensive. The problem? Medicare won’t even pay enough to cover the actual cost of the joint. Hospitals lose money every time a joint is done.
So, our hospital went to the 6 joint companies and said " We will pay you $100.00
per joint" (not a true number…this is argument’s sake). Only 2 of the
companies accepted the offer…Stryker and Smith-Nephew.
So guess what? If you come to our hospital, that is the only joint you will get. Period. End of story.
But what if a different joint is truly better for you?? The hospital told the Orthopedic doctors, "We would rather lose you, the doctor, to a different hospital than provide the joint you feel is best". " We’ll just get doctors who will do that joint and not complain"…….
WOW….Did you catch that?? They would rather lose
the doctor, than give the better joint……And we all
know, most joint replacements are for the elderly….hmmm the elderly…..WHO CARES …they cost us money…Medicare doesn’t even cover costs and is getting cut another 10% this year…..so go somewhere else……but where?
ALL HOSPITALS are doing this…………Rationed care…….Are you scared yet?? This is the
tip of the iceberg……
So are AMERICAN doctors who can speak English tired…..very.
I am tired of doing the right thing and being threatened for it. I’m tired of taking pay-cuts
while seeing more patients every year. I’m tired of malpractice premiums of
$58,000 dollars a year. I’m tired of the threat of always being sued, especially since Leapfrog and the hospital are telling me how to practice medicine.
Be forewarned that 40% of AMERICAN doctors state they will get out of medicine if the
Healthcare billed is passed…..including this doctor.
I can not and WILL NOT practice unethical medicine…..and that is
what being asked of us…….
If you are scared……..write your congressmen…….vote…. ..if you aren’t scared, God help you.
What are consumers’ responsibilities in healthcare reform? Consumers elect their representatives. The representatives are not listening to the people. The solution is to elect new officials.
First write to your elected officials and tell them what you object too.
President Obama’s healthcare reform plan is not about improving care, reducing the cost of medical care, and increasing accessibility to care.
It is about increasing central government power over our lives, increasing taxes and will result in decreasing access to care. It will not accomplish universal coverage.
Write to your congressperson and the President NOW!
Enough is enough.